Sleep when your baby sleeps, even during the day. It is normal to feel very tired for the first 2 weeks after a cesarean. Your body has gone through surgery, birth, and many physical changes and it needs extra rest for healing. Resting lowers your metabolic rate and allows nutrients and oxygen to be used for healing instead of for energy. For the first 6 weeks try to get as much rest as you can. Remember, you are recovering from birth and surgery. Plan some rest periods during the day. Take a nap or lie down and get off your feet for at least 30 minutes each day. Sleep when your baby sleeps, even during the day.
Caring for your newborn 24 hours a day puts new demands on your energy level. Your sleep patterns will change to allow for at least 2 nighttime feedings. Do only the things around the house that must be done; the other things can wait awhile. Avoid getting too tired. Getting too tired can hinder breastfeeding because it affects the let-down reflex and your milk supply. Also, getting too tired can make the baby blues worse and slow down healing. Don’t try to be a hero. Ask your partner, family, or friends for help when you need it.
A Final Note
You can speed your recovery by resting when you can, eating well, and doing a few safe and moderate exercises. You can ease the frustrations of breastfeeding and newborn care by having the phone numbers of a lactation specialist, perinatal nurse, or other support person. If you need professional help, ask for it. The members of your health care team are there when you need them.
It may also help you to know that many new mothers have been through the same physical and emotional changes you are going through. On your baby’s first birthday, you will remember where you were this time last year and wonder, “Where did all the time go?!”
More About Self Care After Cesarean Birth
Introduction to Self-care After Cesarean Birth
Preventive Self Care
Physical Changes and Healing
Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)
Activities and Healthy Exercise
Nutrition and Diet
Family Planning and Birth Control
Normal “Baby Blues” or Postpartum Depression
Your Postpartum Check-Up
Get as Much Rest as You Can
When to Call Your Doctor
Getting enough sleep is very important. If you are bottle feeding, ask your partner to do the night feedings a few nights a week so you can get 6 to 8 hours of continuous sleep. If you are breastfeeding, ask your partner to bring your baby to you in bed, and then take your baby back to the crib when the feeding is over.
You can make resting more appealing by renting a movie you have been wanting to see and watching it for 30 minutes at a time.
If you have questions about your newborn or how to feed and care for your baby, call your pediatrician.